FaceRig promises 'instant digital cosplay' for the masses
Fancy video chatting or recording a digital movie using an avatar of your fursona which mimics your facial expressions, powered by an ordinary webcam and a large-latte-priced software licence? Internet startup FaceRig aims to provide such a service; and ultimately affordable, studio-quality, immersive virtual reality.
The full version of what FaceRig describes as a Digital Alter-Ego Framework might be a long way off, but the initial webchat application is currently in development and seeking backers on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Almost $200,000 has been raised to date, with 33 days to go.
Licences for home and commercial use will be available, with prices starting at $5 during the crowdfunding phase and a predicted eventual cost of less than $15 for home users. More heavyweight versions of the software will incur a greater cost. There are also plans for mobile versions on iOS and Android.
Initially a small gallery of avatars will be available, with more released for purchase or free download as the project develops. The user community will also be able to create avatars, without the need for technical knowhow or massive processing power.
The appeal to furries, for both anonymity and fun, is obvious. There's also the potential for members of the artistic community to showcase their talent and earn money by creating avatars, whether generic or one-off custom pieces. You won't find the word 'furry' on the FaceRig website, but you will see an adorable, goggle-sporting red panda featured heavily in their promotional material.